Camp children at risk of sexual abuse, trafficking - NGO

[TamilNet, Thursday, 27 August 2009, 00:38 GMT]
Noting the specific risks faced by children amongst the hundreds of thousands of people confined in Sri Lanka’s militarized concentration camps, ChildFund Australia on Wednesday launched a fundraising appeal to protect the youngsters. "Children who have been orphaned or separated from their families are particularly vulnerable, facing an increased risk of malnutrition, disease, sexual exploitation, abduction and trafficking," ChildFund Australia CEO Nigel Spence said. The money raised by ChildFund Australia's Sri Lanka appeal will be used, among other things, to provide children with “survival skills”, the NGO said: “Children will be taught survival and safety skills to help protect themselves from sexual abuse, violence and life-threatening diseases.”

The full text of the ChildFund Australia’s press release follows:

ChildFund Australia has today launched a fundraising appeal for children trapped in Sri Lanka's internally displaced persons (IDP) camps. The money raised will be used to assist at least 3,000 children in Vavuniya in the country's north, where the majority of the displaced are located.

Currently, more than 300,000 people are confined to the camps, with no clear plans to resettle them. Children and their families are living in overcrowded conditions with little or no access to basic necessities or effective protection.

ChildFund Australia CEO Nigel Spence says: "These children are already traumatised by what they've endured in the conflict - hiding in trenches to escape shelling, seeing family members killed and witnessing the destruction of their homes. Now they are having to adjust to life in the camps where there is a severe lack of food, water, healthcare and sanitation, and little or no access to education.

"Children who have been orphaned or separated from their families are particularly vulnerable, facing an increased risk of malnutrition, disease, sexual exploitation, abduction and trafficking."

ChildFund Australia's affiliate in Sri Lanka was one of the first NGOs to gain access to the camps. Local staff have been distributing emergency relief items, such as water, clothing and hygiene kits, and have also begun implementing education, play, sports and trauma recovery activities for children.

The money raised by ChildFund Australia's Sri Lanka appeal will be used to provide:

Emergency Relief - Five Child Relief Centres will be established where children will receive meals, vaccinations, protection, safety and stability.

Survival Skills - Children will be taught survival and safety skills to help protect themselves from sexual abuse, violence and life-threatening diseases.

Education and Training - Children will be provided with resources to resume their secondary school education, including notebooks, school supplies and two libraries. Another 300 youths will be provided with income-generation skills to prepare them for when they return home.

 

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